GCSU Alumni Achievement Award

I wanted to take a minute and give a HUGE and resounding shout out to one of my old colleges. Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA (the school I was attending when I conceived and first started writing the Dark-Hunter series) has chosen me for their 2012 Alumni Achievement Award! I’m so thrilled and stunned, and extremely honored! (visit GCSU on FB or GCSU online)

GC has always meant a lot to me. It was the first college I attended after high school. Sadly, I’d never heard of it until my bff Red Kim (‘cause we know how many Kim’s are in my life- so they all require monikers) wanted to do a road trip during Spring Break to visit campuses. It was the first one we went to, but the one that I liked the best. It’s a beautiful school and it ended up being one of the most influential schools on my life. And for those who don’t know, I attended a total of six different colleges and universities over the years (UGA, Millsaps, GSU, MSU and Emory for one semester). Out of all the ones I attended, GC has always been my favorite.

While at GC, I was the junior editor for their paper The Colonnade I don’t know if anyone remembers the national publicity back when someone entered a side of beef in the Miss America contest (that was me, LOL). It was a campaign we staged at the Colonnade. Ironically, Red Kim was first runner-up that year and I swear I didn’t know she was in it when we entered the beef. I would never, ever have done it had I known she was in it- I love her too much. It was actually a protest against the overly stringent rules which were ridiculous at the time and not against the candidates.

Anyway, I was music director and then general manager of the school’s radio station for three years. It was there I began Terrorist Radio- a punk show I did from midnight to 4 AM. I was also a Resident Advisor at Wells, Adams and Terrell Halls– and on the first day of registration when we opened the halls, I would wear a loud and tacky Hawaiian shirt so that new students could remember and find me if they needed help (now you know where Nick gets that part of his character from).

Oh and we used to do paranormal investigations and seances in Sanford, Atkinson, Russell, Lanier and Ennis. And I worked for Milledgeville Update which was the school’s TV station. The best part of it all? I met my hubby in Atkinson Hall in a sociology class, and he proposed to me on the steps of the building.

But not everything was always rosy… Twice I was called before the dean because my student loan checks hadn’t come in (I had to work three jobs to pay for school which explains the above, and had no extra cash), and they were going to toss me out for lack of payment. To their eternal credit, though, they worked out a plan for me to make small payments until the check came in, which I then promptly paid the balance with. It was a rare kindness I have never forgotten.

Back to happy thoughts- I remember, I used to meet hubby in the library to study. It was there that I would research writing markets and publishers to submit to (the web wasn’t here quite yet and the internet was mostly libraries and government). I owe eternal gratitude to the wonderful GC librarians who spent hours helping me locate info and borrow books from other libraries (inter-library loan is still one of my fave terms). I also worked in that library as one of my many jobs.

One of the neatest things in the library though, was that it housed the Special Collections Exhibits. It was a magical room that had manuscripts and memorabilia, and in particular Flannery O’Connor who had been a student there, had her own section of the room. While I attended GC, I was published in the Peacock’s Feet which is their literary journal named in her honor and it still is one of my proudest achievements. Dr. Ferrell was extremely particular about what she let into it.

I also worked as an English peer tutor. Yeah, I really did have a lot of jobs and it was there I honed my ability to function with no sleep at all. Something that has definitely served me well in my life.

Anyway, I can’t count how many times, I’d go to that room and stare in awe, wondering what it would be like to have something I wrote be considered good enough that a university would want to archive and feature it. And GC has now done me that esteemed honor, too. I get misty-eyed every time I think about it! It’s an amazing feeling. Thank you, GCSU! Words honestly fail me and we know how often that happens :) You’ll probably need a crowbar to pry the smile off my face. Not that it’s going anywhere soon. I am so humbled and touched.

They’re holding the ceremony this weekend and unfortunately, I can’t go :( But I’m hoping to get down there soon so that I can meet with the library staff and they can tour me around the updated facilities which are much larger nowadays (the computer lab used to be in the basement of Atkinson when I was there and you had to sign up on the list and wait for hours to get one). Both GC and I have come a very long way, and that school will always hold a very special place in my heart.

Oh, but hang on… I do need to mention one other thing. They have the year I left wrong, LOL. I actually left GC in 1990. Hmmm… But that’s all right, I will definitely forgive them :) Heaven knows, I’m queen of the typos myself. I would never smite someone else for something I’m sure my CE’s have gone gray over.

I now have this page bookmarked just so I know I’m not dreaming and that it’s real gcsu.edu/alumni/alumniachievement.htm .

BTW, the first building in the photo is where I met my hubby, and where my group used to meet to start our paranormal investigations. One of the resident halls I lived in is just two buildings down and Red Kim lived in the one next door (Bell). Hubby proposed right there on those steps while I was sitting on the upper ledge where the lamp post is now.

THANK YOU, GCSU!!